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Youth in Transition from Foster Care Take Charge of their Wellness
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Youth in Transition from Foster Care Take Charge of their Wellness

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Ysette Guevara of Minds on Fire presents Multiple Paths to Adulthood, a program that gamifies living and learning to develop skills for resilience, reflection, connection, self-determination, and …

Ysette Guevara of Minds on Fire presents Multiple Paths to Adulthood, a program that gamifies living and learning to develop skills for resilience, reflection, connection, self-determination, and wellness for youth transitioning from Foster Care. Presented at YTH Live 2014 session "Gaming for Health."

Published in: Health & Medicine, Spiritual

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  • 1. Game Planning: Youth Transitioning from Foster Care Take Charge of their Wellness Ysette Guevara, Ph.D. Minds On Fire April 6-8, 2014 San Francisco, CA Annual Conference on Youth + Tech + Health
  • 2. Current life skills training model for youth in foster care (14 and up): • Bribe youth to attend standalone workshops • Workshops are run by program staff that aren’t necessarily trained as content experts or educators • Topic is “checked off” in the young person’s file • Framed as “support” rather than empowerment Status Quo
  • 3. • Not a priority for youth • Lack of alignment between goals and self identity • Lack of intrinsic motivation • No bridge to real world • Lack of engagement and follow up Result: Limited Effectiveness
  • 4. How Did We Get Here? Scarce Resources Tough Tradeoffs Limited Effectiveness
  • 5. • Busy, unpredictable schedules • Lack of space and time to devote to self-discovery • Budgetary constraints (youth) • Budgetary constraints (agency) Scarce Resources
  • 6. • Multiple demands: work, school, family, friends • Defining adulthood: What I “should” vs. “want” to do • Competing priorities: money vs. self-actualization Tough Tradeoffs
  • 7. To help young people achieve a sense of self-efficacy given multiple resource constraints (Let’s get back to basics!) Goal
  • 8. To structure youth-serving programs so they go beyond standalone life skills workshops in order to: • be more relevant and engaging to youth • bridge the gap between instruction and practice • provide continuous support to help them achieve their goals • empower them with useful tools for life Objectives
  • 9. Structuring Principles of Game Plan Self- Efficacy Positive Youth Development Blended Continuous Learning Meaningful Gamification
  • 10. "Empowering teens" refers to a PROCESS through which adults begin to share responsibility and power with young people. It is the same idea as teaching young people the rules of the game. Youth development professionals are helping young people develop non-academic competencies that will help them to participate in the game of life. Because it is a process, empowerment is something that is achieved over time, not overnight. —Huebner, “Examining ‘Empowerment’: A How-To Guide for the Youth Development Professional” Positive Youth Development
  • 11. Blended Continuous Learning Office hours, check-ins, conversations Preview Workshop Challenge Assessment Online Online and out in the world OnlineFace to face w/ staff Face to face w/ staff, online, and out in the world
  • 12. “…the use of game elements and game structures in non- game contexts.” —Kevin Werbach, Gamification Gamification is…
  • 13. • Balance of structure and play / Goal and rules • Learning or problem-solving / Feedback system • Voluntary participation(*) —Kevin Werbach’s Gamification MOOC (2014) + McGonigal, Reality is Broken The Gamefulness of Game Plan
  • 14. • (Nicholson) Instead of external rewards, give players the opportunity to create achievements of things they are proud of, milestones that are meaningful to them, or a record of how far they have gotten. Meaningful Gamification
  • 15. Information Exposition Play Choice Reflection Engagement Meaningful Gamification and Game Plan Frame life as a game (RPG) Quest / hero’s arc narrative Self-determined goals Differentiated instruction (multimedia) Journaling and self-assessment Participation in a learning community
  • 16. • Character with specific set of strengths and tools • Leveling up: experience points, self-improvement • Combination of linear and non-linear elements • Individual and group challenges • Failure does not mean “game over” • Dialogue between PCs and GM • Encounters with NPCs (allies, bystanders, foes) Game Plan as an RPG
  • 17. • Foster care alumni aspiring to be social entrepreneurs • Typical profile: 21 year-old college student working part- time; low income; precarious housing situation • Current topic: self care • Duration: four weeks Case Study: Emerging Leaders
  • 18. • Familiarized themselves with the concept of self care • Came up with four different categories of self care • Shared self care tips with one another • Active pursuit of self care exploration and goals • Noticed the mind/body connection in their practice Case Study: Learning Outcomes
  • 19. • Streamline the onboarding process; write FAQs • Integrate gamification into the user interface • Structure assessments so they are more suitable for quantitative analysis • Engage more clients! Next Steps
  • 20. • Let’s employ meaningful gamification principles not merely as tactics for engagement but youth empowerment. • Let’s leverage technology to provide young people with a continuous learning environment that is convenient, supportive, and engaging. • Let’s use that same technology to track outcomes (qualitative and quantitative) and build capacity in a cost-efficient way. Takeaways
  • 21. Huebner, Angela J. “Examining ‘Empowerment’: A How-To Guide for the Youth Development Professional.” Journal of Extension 36.6 (Dec. 1998). Web. Krebs, Betsy and Paul Pitcoff. Beyond the Foster Care System: The Future for Teens. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2006. Print. McGonigal, Jane. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. New York: Penguin, 2011. Print. Newman, Ann E., et al. “Youth Development: The Vital Link.” National Resource Center for Youth Services. Community Leader Journal. Blandin Foundation. 2010. PDF. Feb. 26, 2014. Nicholson, Scott. “Meaningful Gamification: Motivating through Play instead of Manipulating through Rewards.” MIT Game Lab. Dec. 12, 2013. Video. Werbach, Kevin. Gamification. Coursera. Jan. – Apr. 2014. Web. References
  • 22. Ysette Guevara, Ph.D. @YsetteGuevara ysette@minds-on-fire.org http://minds-on-fire.org/